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Chamber recognizes 2020 awardees

Portland Chamber of Commerce held its 2020 Awards Dinner on April 13 with approximately 150 people attending. The event recognizes business and community leaders each year. The event was held at the Southern Occasions Event Center and Catering and featured a southern style buffet meal.

Eleven awards were given to recipients this year. Those include Citizen of the Year — State Rep. William Lamberth, Business Leader of the Year — Bonnette Dawson, Old Hickory Credit Union, Public Safety Award Fire — Lt. Chris Petitt, Public Safety Award Police — Officer Blake Conyer, Ambassador of the Year — Shelley Gregory, Non-Profit of the Year — Hands of Hope, Small Business of the Year — Shannon Insurance, Large Business of the Year — Food Lion, Industry of the Year — Dorman Products, New Business of the Year — Big Poppa Corn, Community Impact Awards — Cumberland Connect and Rotary Club.

President/CEO of Portland Chamber of Commerce Sherri Ferguson gave a report on the chamber for 2020. During the year, the chamber gained 37 new members making 344 members and maintaining a retention rate of 90%. They sponsored over 40 events in-person and virtual. They also sponsored the 2020 Fall Festival, The Back to School Bash, and Music on Main.

The chamber had 7,493 likes on its Facebook page and 13,010 likes on its Strawberry Festival Facebook page. The chamber received approximately 5,000 phone calls, 9 visitor packet requests, and over 14,000 office visitors.

Events Coordinator Kristen Daughtry said, “We had a great turnout for the awards dinner, and were excited to honor several local businesses, organizations and community members for their service during 2020. We have many businesses who could win the awards every year, and it goes to show what a great community Portland is to live, work, and play.”

Prior to the awards, President/CEO Sherri Ferguson recognized the chamber’s Premier Partners. Those include Old Hickory Credit Union, Shoals Technologies Group, The Farmers Bank, Dorman Products, Volunteer State Bank, Portland Utilities Construction Company, Staff Easy, Exit Realty Garden Gate Team, and Wayne’s Pest Control.

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New boutique features nostalgic clothing

Draper Buttercup opened Friday, April 16 with a ribbon cutting sponsored by The Portland Chamber of Commerce. The shop is located on Main Street in Strawberry Station.

Draper Buttercup is a fashion boutique with a wide range of items designed for women featuring nostalgic clothing from various decades. The boutique has sizes small to 3X.

The shop is a family business owned by Jessie Burke (mother) and Tessa Odle (daughter). The family involvement doesn’t stop there. Burke’s other daughter Sessily Burke and four-year-old son Edward Burke are actively involved in the business.

Sessily is an artist and her art work is displayed in the shop. She can be commissioned to paint pictures for clients. According to his mother, Edward enjoys helping at the boutique putting stickers on items, vacuuming, and dusting.

Odle said, “It’s such a blessing to do this with family. We are having so much fun with everyone.”

According to Burke, they chose the word draper because it was used long ago to described draping materials over dress forms or clients to create fashions. They chose buttercup because buttercups are beautiful and so are women. The boutique is open every day except Monday. The hours on Sunday are 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The shop has a unique “husband waiting area” with seats and hot wheel books and cars to play with while waiting. In addition, the shop will feature men’s clothing around Father’s Day and other holidays when people are shopping for men.

New items are coming in weekly to add to the clothing, jewelry, handbags, and accessories already in stock. Draper Buttercup will feature strawberry canvas totes during the strawberry season. There is also a good assortment of graduation dresses for upcoming graduates.

Burke said she is expecting at least 200 items from four different vendors soon, and encourages customers who see something they like to get it now, because many of the items will not be able to be reordered.

Burke said, “We are grateful and thankful to be here. There’s not a cuter town than Portland. When the lights go off at night and the twinkle lights come on it is adorable. The Cruising on Main, Music on Main, and a radio station on Main makes it so perfect. We’re thankful to be here.”

Students celebrate Prom 2021

Enchanted Forest was the theme of the Portland High School 2021 Prom held April 17 at The Barn at Spring Lake Farms. The event was organized by the prom committee led by Rena Brackin-Loza. Over 280 students registered on line to attend the annual event sponsored by parents.

Brackin-Loza, who has worked with the prom committee for several years, said, “I feel very blessed to have a prom committee every year. That’s what made it the best.”

During the evening, the students voted for their choice for king and queen. Zachary Meadors and Isabella Dunivan won the honor this year. The prom included the traditional senior walk with the seniors walking through an area similar to an enchanted forest.

Meadors said, “I just wanna say that I had an amazing experience and I would’ve never expected that I would have gotten prom king, but I am so happy that I did. Thank you to all of my friends and everyone who voted for me and my girlfriend Isabella. It made the night so special. I also wanna thank all the parents who put countless hours into it just for us kids. Everything looked amazing and was perfect.”

Dunivan said, “My prom experience this year was by far the best one. Despite all the chaos with COVID and having a not so fun senior year, having prom and being with my classmates allowed me to have fun and forget that chaos. Being voted and crowned prom queen was very unexpected. I was shocked. However, it was a bitter sweet moment and I’m thankful for my classmates who voted for the king and I. I wouldn’t have wanted the night any other way.”

The past school year has been another difficult year for high school students with the

pandemic affecting their activities at school. The prom is a special night for juniors and seniors, which leaves good memories, as they close out the year.

Senior Eme Loza said, “Prom was beautiful and a wonderful experience altogether. I think it was amazing that we were able to have a junior and senior prom given the circumstances this year. As a senior, it felt great to be able to have a sense of normalcy after the year that we have gone through as a class.”

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Planet Fitness coming in June

Planet Fitness is scheduled to open in June in the former Fred’s store located in Portland Village.

Planet Fitness has become one of the largest and fastest-growing fitness centers in the United States. The Portland center will be the 25th location in the Nashville area and is owned by PF Growth Partners, LLC.

The 11,030 square-foot Portland facility will offer state-of-the art cardio machines and strength equipment. The facility will have fully equipped locker rooms with day lockers and showers.

There will be numerous flat screen televisions throughout the building. In addition, there are massage chairs and tanning beds, along with many other pieces of fitness equipment.

The club will operate with enhanced protocols for COVID-19 safety. There will be increased sanitation plus employee temperature checks. There will be other protocols for checking in and signage throughout the facility for safety awareness.

The club will have a special introductory offer beginning May 3 and ending May 12. Members can join for zero down with no commitment and get their first month free. Membership options include $10 a month for the Classic Membership or $22.99 for the PF Black Card Membership. People interested in a membership can sign up during the pre-sale at www.planetfitness.com/gyms/portland-tn.

Registration will continue online and also be offered in person beginning May 31 during the following hours: Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.